Friday, May 30, 2008

Weekend Getaway Time!

The weekend is here and it's time for rest and relaxation! We are going to do that by going to the beautiful Oregon coast. We live an hour away from the ocean but try to get there as often as possible. If you ever find yourself visiting our beautful state, be sure to drive down Highway 101 for as long and as far as possible. There are gorgeous sights the entire way including these photos I took along the coast.

I took this picture from the Sea Lion Caves north of Florence, Oregon which we've visited several times but only once the sea lions were actually in the cave. At least the views were nice!
There are many lighthouses along Hwy 101 along the coast of Oregon. I took this photo of Heceta Head Lighthouse through the ocean mist. Heceta Head Lighthouse is 13 miles north of Florence.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Everyone needs some lovin'!

I once heard that everyone needs someone in their life to love whether it's family, friends or pets. Having some other living creature to care for makes all the difference. Many people have big families, lots of friends and several pets while others have small families, few friends and one or two pets. Even if someone has just one important person, or pet, in their life, happiness abounds. The quantity does not matter, it's the quality of those relationships that is meaningful.

As our cats, Angel and Isabella, are demonstrating, we may not get along all the time but we can still show compassion for each other (hopefully it's not while being squished in a cat bed by your little sister!) Don't forget to seek out and nurture relationships with the people, or pets, that you love and make you happy. Keep in contact with family and friends, volunteer in your community or adopt a pet from an animal shelter. Spread the love and reap the rewards!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Oregon Getaway time!!

Here's another waterfall in this beautiful state of Oregon. I took this photo of Latourell Falls which is located in the Columbia River Gorge east of Portland, OR. The falls plunge 249 feet over columnar basalt and is most recognized for the bright patch of lichen on the cliff face to the right of the falls. It's one of several waterfalls in the Multnomah Falls area and is well worth a trip to see them all!

I'd also like to tell my cousin Loretta - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What is your Passion?

Such a simple question, but not always such a simple answer. A few years ago my hair stylist asked me "what is your passion?" I was stumped. I'd never been asked that before nor had I even thought about that before so I didn't have an answer for her. I've thought about that question quite frequently since that day and I have changed many things in my life as I learn to live more in the moment rather than just going through the motions. I wanted to find what truly made me happy and follow that path wherever it took me. I did this for many reasons, one of which is that I didn't want to change stylists so I didn't want to go back for a haircut and still be passionless!

One passion I've always had, but didn't recognize it as such, is my love of animals and my desire to help end cruelty, neglect and homelessness for them. This realization was the inspiration behind our Etsy shop. My mom feels the same way about animals as I do and we were looking for ways to help animal causes after hearing horrible stories in the news last summer about animal cruelty. We love making jewelry so the combination of being able to indulge our creative side while helping animals was a perfect match. We can honestly say we are passionate about what we do and feel fortunate to be able to do our part to make this world a better place for animals.

In case you haven't been asked in awhile, ask yourself periodically "what is my passion?" You may already know your passions and incorporate them in your daily life and if so, that's fantastic! For others, it will lead to soul searching and a desire to find out what truly makes you happy. It may be quite a journey, as I am finding out firsthand, but it's worth it to live your life with passion!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Eye Popping, Sales Making Photos - Oxymoron? Not necessarily.

So many times it's discussed in the Etsy forums that in order to sell jewelry our shops must have great photos. Boy, that is sure harder to do than it sounds. I just spent several hours re-taking photos of several items in our shop and I can assure you, it's a constant work in progress. (Click on photos to see entire listing in our shop).

Give me a waterfall any day and I can photograph it but a bracelet or earrings is a whole different story. For one thing, lighting is the absolute key but it's only perfect about 1% of the time. I've tried lightboxes and ended up with photos with an orange tint. I've tried direct sun, no sun, in the rain (I live in Oregon by the way) and each attempt left something to be desired. I spend hours photographing jewelry and then downloading them and attempting to make them better on the computer. I usually end up with about 25 pictures per item just to get 5 decent ones for a listing. I spend a lot of time photographing our jewelry to try to make the listings in our shop pop!

My point to all this is, when you are looking at an Etsy shop and admiring the talent on display, notice the photos of the objects because I can assure you much work went into them and it's part of the entire package. We all love to create our jewelry or soap or scarves or whatever it may be but a necessary evil in presenting them in our shop is those photos. So many times with an online store they are the deal maker or breaker but the money shots are so elusive. Take notice of great photos and realize the heart and soul that went into creating the item and then presenting it to you. We do it because we love what we do and want to provide the best for our customers. Now, I'm off to take more photos!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hot weather tips for pets

With many parts of this country reaching 100 degrees already this summer, it's a good time for reminders about hot weather care for pets. This list is from the ASPCA's website and is a good thing for everyone to read each summer to keep our fur babies happy and healthy.

- A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is a must; add to that a test for heartworm, if your dog isn't on year-round preventive medication. Do parasites bug your animal companions? Ask your doctor to recommend a safe, effective flea and tick control program.

- Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle—hyperthermia can be fatal. Even with the windows open, a parked automobile can quickly become a furnace in no time. Parking in the shade offers little protection, as the sun shifts during the day.

- Always carry a gallon thermos filled with cold, fresh water when traveling with your pet.

- The right time for playtime is in the cool of the early morning or evening, but never after a meal or when the weather is humid.

- Street smarts: When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog standing on hot asphalt. His or her body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.

- A day at the beach is a no-no, unless you can guarantee a shaded spot and plenty of fresh water for your companion. Salty dogs should be rinsed off after a dip in the ocean.

- Provide fresh water and plenty of shade for animals kept outdoors; a properly constructed doghouse serves best. Bring your dog or cat inside during the heat of the day to rest in a cool part of the house.

- Be especially sensitive to older and overweight animals in hot weather. Brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs such as bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa apsos and shih tzus, as well as those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

- When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. And please be alert for coolant or other automotive fluid leaking from your vehicle. Animals are attracted to the sweet taste, and ingesting just a small amount can be fatal. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect that your animal has been poisoned.

- Good grooming can stave off summer skin problems, especially for dogs with heavy coats. Shaving the hair to a one-inch length—never down to the skin, please, which robs Rover of protection from the sun—helps prevent overheating. Cats should be brushed often.

- Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.

- Having a backyard barbecue? Always keep matches, lighter fluid, citronella candles and insect coils out of pets' reach.

- Please make sure that there are no open, unscreened windows or doors in your home through which animals can fall or jump.

- Stay alert for signs of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting and drooling and mild weakness, along with an elevated body temperature.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Weekend Getaway!

I'm continuing the tour of great Oregon sights by including a picture I took of Horsetail Falls which is east of Portland in the Columbia River Gorge. An earlier post introduced Multnomah Falls and this waterfall is just down the road from those majestic falls. Check back in later weeks for more Oregon sights!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Something new!

Today I posted a brand new necklace in our Etsy shop. A few months ago, I came across the cutest dog pendant in which the body and the tail move so I wanted the perfect piece of jewelry to emphasize it. I've laid out many things but nothing worked just right but finally I had a burst of creativity and came up with this new black onyx necklace last night. I think it turned out really cute and it may have taken a long time to get it to fruition but I'm very happy with the results! As always, a portion of the proceeds will go to animal awareness causes too!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A favorite Etsy purchase

I recently purchased this fantastic print from dogartstudio on Etsy (the photo is from his shop listing). The artist is Ron Krajewski and he captures the essense of all the animals incredibly. He'll also do commissions of your pets, the information is in his profile on Etsy.

I really liked this print online and absolutely love it in person. I just got it framed and can't wait to hang it. If you are looking for a cat or dog print, be sure to check out his shop!

Here's a picture of our cat Isabella who looks like she could have been the model for this print, which is of course why I bought it!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


We're having a sale in our Etsy shop with several items marked down 20%! What a great way to get jewelry for the animal lover and know that a portion of the proceeds will go to animal awareness causes!

Here's a few of the great bracelets on sale!

Pink Cat's Eye Animal Awareness Bracelet

Fancy Jasper Cat Face Bead Bracelet

Hematite and White Cat's Eye Heart bracelet with Paw Toggle

Check out our shop for more! We're making tails wag one bead at a time!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

More traveling around Oregon

On this cloudy Saturday morning I'm thinking of the blue skies to come and visiting more beautiful sights in Oregon. This includes the many waterfalls throughout the state. Today's post is a picture I took of Sahalie Falls which is just off Hwy 126 in the Willamette National Forest along the McKenzie River. This waterfall is 140' tall and was formed thousands of years ago when lava flows buried parts of the river. It is certainly worth stopping and exploring when driving through the Cascades of Oregon!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Views, Hearts & Sales

Much is discussed in the Etsy forums regarding views and hearts and I must admit that I was pretty obsessed over them too. The key word there is "was". I finally realized what the Etsy folks who've been around for awhile meant when they advised to not worry about views and hearts but focus on promoting to get the sales. Before this realization, I spent many hours on the computer checking to see if my views have increased or if I was hearted that day. Sometimes, I hate to admit, I was hitting that refresh button almost every minute. Oh the time I wasted.

For those non-Etsyians who may be reading this, we have counters on every item in our shop that tell us how many views a particular item is getting. We also receive hearts which is a way of bookmarking a shop or an individual item in a shop and adding it to your favorites. In everyone's shop, on the lower right hand side, there is a link to "See who hearts this shop". When on an item page, you can "See who hearts this item".

Now, that I'm not so vigilant about checking our shop's hearts and views (although it's still like Christmas morning when we get another heart!), I've been researching advertising alternatives and focusing on increasing our sales. I also took the advice to start up this blog as a way of promoting ourselves so folks know the people behind the shop. I'm still frequently on the forums but now it's to find out all I can about advertising avenues and other tried and true tactics to increasing sales. Okay, I admit, I still throw in a promotion here and there but not very often. The forums are a wealth of information from very knowledgeable Etsyians who are extremely helpful to those of us still learning the ropes. I just wish I hadn't wasted so much time with seemingly non-important things and missed out on months of really getting our shop name out there in order to get sales. Hopefully I'm on the right track now and it's only a matter of time before we get more sales. It certainly won't be from lack of trying!

Thank you to the many Etsyians who share information in the forums! I'm truly proud to be a part of such a wonderful community! And thank you to everyone who has hearted our shop or an item in our shop! Every single one is very much appreciated!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Have you ever received advice from someone and at the time discounted it thinking they didn't know what they were talking about? This happened to me five years ago as we were in the midst of packing up our house to move from Colorado to Oregon. It was a stressful, chaotic time but our realtor said that every three to five years, we should "pretend" that we are going to put our house on the market. By doing this, we clean up, clean out and repair things just as we would to show it to prospective buyers.

Standing among boxes that we'd spent weeks packing up, I thought she was off her rocker. Why in the world would we intentionally do this to ourselves when not faced with having to move? She said it kept things from accumulating and repairs up to date so that your house isn't just fixed up for a sale but for every day living. She obviously needed a hobby if she thought preparing a house to be put on the market every few years was something to look forward to.

We've now been in our Oregon home five years and I'm finally starting to see she may have been on to something. We're in the middle of a kitchen remodel right now and after packing up everything up from the old cabinets, we found stuff in there that hadn't been touched since we moved in. Our realtor may have picked the worse time to offer her advice, but I never forgot it (because I thought it was so off the wall!) and I'll admit, it actually turned out to be pretty good advice. Now if I can just find the time to tackle the rest of the house!

Try to think of advice that you received but didn't realize until later that it was actually helpful. Say a silent thank you to the advice giver and be sure to pass along your knowledge! Others may benefit now or in the future.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Jewelry for the Dog or Cat Moms!

In our Etsy shop we have bracelets with a choice of charms that would make a perfect Mother's Day gift for dog or cat moms. These two bracelets are handmade by me and with both, you can choose a charm that says either ♥ My Cat or ♥ My Dog.

The Obsidian bracelet , pictured above, has gold toned pewter charms pictured below. The Silverleaf Jasper bracelet , the bottom picture, has the same charms but in silver toned pewter. Both are great choices to show your love for your fur babies!

As always, a portion of proceeds from ALL sales will go to animal awareness causes! We have more choices in our shop so be sure to check it out!
We're making tails wag one bead at a time!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Nature's majesty

I took these pictures last September at Crater Lake here in Oregon. Crater Lake was formed 7,700 years ago when a volcanic eruption caused the 12,000 ft Mount Mazama to collapse. It is 1,943' deep which makes it the deepest lake in the United States and the 7th deepest in the world. The fresh water is so clear and is a gorgeous shade of bright blue. It is certainly a place that must be visited in Oregon!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

You've come a long way baby!

This article from January 2001 tells of the rescue of 40 adult Huskies and six litters of puppies from Banner County, Nebraska. Our dog, Sadie, was one of the puppies rescued by the humane society. She's the brown puppy in the picture.

My mom was living in Nebraska at the time and heard the story of these dogs being rescued. She called my husband and me in Colorado and asked if we wanted to adopt one. Well, that was an easy decision, absolutely! Mom was the first one through the door at the humane society the next day to put our name on the list of adopters. Luckily she was first and was persistant in calling them regularly because soon after the court hearing allowing the dogs to be adopted, another raid on a Yorkie puppy mill in NE caused all the Huskies except two to be sent to other shelters throughout the region since the humane society needed room for the newest rescuees. The humane society called my mom and told her we could adopt a puppy, the other puppy pictured was adopted a shelter employee. We were extremely lucky to welcome Sadie into our home and were sad to lose her to cancer on June 22, 2012 but she lived here like royalty and brought us more happiness and smiles than we could ever have imagined!

Although Sadie was rescued early and lived the good life with us, we have to speak out on behalf of the animals who are still living in cruel and neglectful conditions. Puppy mills have got to be shut down. Education is the key and once people know the horrible conditions animals are subjected to, it can no longer be swept under the rug. There are many responsible breeders out there but the ones who are not, have got to be stopped.
Our shop features many bracelets with animal awareness ribbons to show your support and we will donate a portion of the proceeds to animal awareness causes. You can also support your local shelters by giving money or your time or adopting a wonderful, loving furry friend. Thank you for helping us make the world a better place for animals! =^..^=